Melbourne Victory assistant Jean-Paul De Marigny is close to landing his first head coaching role with Wellington Phoenix.
The former Socceroos defender, in his second stint riding shot-gun to Kevin Muscat at Victory, has long coveted an A-League head coaching job.
And he's emerged as one of the front runners to take over from caretaker Chris Greenacre next season, after the resignation of Serb Darije Kalezic in March.
It's understood the Phoenix have given up on first choice Tony Vidmar, the current assistant to Warren Joyce at Melbourne City, and De Marigny is one of two names left on the short-list compiled by chairman Rob Morrison and general manager David Dome.
Vidmar decided not to pursue the opportunity after being told that no cash would be available for marquee signings, amid continuing uncertainty over whether the under-achieving club's A-League license will be extended beyond the end of next season.
A part of the Australia Under-17s coaching set-up for three seasons, quiet achiever De Marigny played an integral part in Victory's premiership-championship double in 2014-15 before decamping to Newcastle Jets to be at the side of wife Donna, who was undergoing treatment for cancer.
He returned for his second spell working alongside Muscat in mid-2016 but the club will not stand in his way if an official offer is tabled by Phoenix.
The Kiwis, who have 14 players coming off contract, rounded off a dreadful season on a high by defeating Melbourne City 2-1 on Saturday.
Only the ineptitude of Central Coast Mariners spared them the wooden spoon, as they finished ninth.